Re: With More Flash More Lumix: using an external flash unit with the FZ1 and other digicams

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Hans-Georg Michna, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. E Pericoloso Sporgersi <> wrote:

    >I thought of a solution for the incompatible external flash. I mean
    >incompatible because of lack of a hot shoe or synchronisation, or too high a
    >flash trigger voltage.
    >
    >Have a look at:
    >http://users.pandora.be/cisken/Slave_Flash/slave_flash.html


    Yeah, don't lean out of the window. :)

    The problem is the exposure. If you simply add more flashlight,
    your pictures will be overexposed, as the slave flashes cannot
    be controlled by the camera.

    In other words, correct exposure would be sheer luck.

    Normally the camera can shut down the flash when it received
    enough light through the lens (hence the TTL designator for this
    technology). But for that the camera needs an electrical
    connection to the flash, and the flash must be designed for TTL
    operation.

    Perhaps something can be done when you know the exposure
    parameters of the camera and the slave flashes can control
    themselves accordingly through their own sensors. I guess though
    that even that would require experimentation every time you're
    in a new setting.

    Has anybody tried this? One of my colleagues wanted to try it,
    but he's no professional (neither am I) and no expert, so I
    guess he's also building on sheer luck.

    Hans-Georg

    --
    No mail, please.
    Hans-Georg Michna, Aug 23, 2003
    #1
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  2. In article <>, hans-
    says...
    > Yeah, don't lean out of the window. :)

    Besonders ins Web-Zug! ;^)

    > In other words, correct exposure would be sheer luck.

    No, that turns out not to be the case. My test shots prove otherwise.

    > ... the camera needs an electrical
    > connection to the flash, and the flash must be designed for TTL
    > operation.

    No, not necessarily.
    My Sunpak flash units are 20 years old - purchased when ISO was still ASA - and
    have no TTL metering connections whatsoever, but they do have sensors and self-
    limiting capability. Now the sensors of the Sunpak and the Panasonic camera (it
    has a separate flash-sensor, non-TTL) don't care where the light originates.
    Both Sunpak flash and camera flash shut down their strobes as soon as a
    sufficient amount of photons has reached their sensors. In conditions where a
    flash is needed, the camera always sets itself to f 2.8 (as claimed by the Exif
    data) and usually 1/30 sec., while I have the Sunpak's sensor permanently at
    its most sensitive ( f 2.8 @ ISO 50).
    Also remember that the Leica lens has a constant aperture throughout its entire
    zoom range.

    The exposures may not be perfect, but my test shots prove themselves to be
    quite acceptable to a dilettante like myself.

    There is one exception to this reasoning though: the fill-in flash.
    For my fill-in test shot the camera set itself to f 4.0 and 1/100, still with
    ISO 50 and the flash at f 2.8 @ ISO 50.
    http://users.pandora.be/cisken/Slave_Flash/P1090013.jpg
    (original full size picture with Exif data)
    One could assume that the faster shutter speed limits the light coming from the
    Sunpak, though I doubt it. I'll have to check that out with different kinds of
    backlighting and subjects.

    > Perhaps something can be done when you know the exposure
    > parameters of the camera and the slave flashes can control
    > themselves accordingly through their own sensors.

    Exactically.

    > I guess though
    > that even that would require experimentation every time you're
    > in a new setting.

    Well, I was rather convinced that I did experiment in different locations and
    light conditions. One single setting proved itself adequate in all situations.
    (My page shows only the most dramatic test shots, but I've taken many more)

    Of course the new Lumix DMC-FZ 2 (not yet available outside Japan) with its
    manual settings might perform even better.

    All in all, I'm still *very* happy with results so far.
    --
    Francis Kennis, aka E Pericoloso Sporgersi
    E Pericoloso Sporgersi, Aug 23, 2003
    #2
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  3. E Pericoloso Sporgersi <> wrote:

    >My Sunpak flash units are 20 years old - purchased when ISO was still ASA - and
    >have no TTL metering connections whatsoever, but they do have sensors and self-
    >limiting capability. Now the sensors of the Sunpak and the Panasonic camera (it
    >has a separate flash-sensor, non-TTL) don't care where the light originates.
    >Both Sunpak flash and camera flash shut down their strobes as soon as a
    >sufficient amount of photons has reached their sensors. In conditions where a
    >flash is needed, the camera always sets itself to f 2.8 (as claimed by the Exif
    >data) and usually 1/30 sec., while I have the Sunpak's sensor permanently at
    >its most sensitive ( f 2.8 @ ISO 50).
    >Also remember that the Leica lens has a constant aperture throughout its entire
    >zoom range.
    >
    >The exposures may not be perfect, but my test shots prove themselves to be
    >quite acceptable to a dilettante like myself.


    Francis,

    thanks for the info. Yes, if you can rely on the camera always
    using the same settings, it should be possible.

    >There is one exception to this reasoning though: the fill-in flash.
    >For my fill-in test shot the camera set itself to f 4.0 and 1/100, still with
    >ISO 50 and the flash at f 2.8 @ ISO 50.
    >http://users.pandora.be/cisken/Slave_Flash/P1090013.jpg
    >(original full size picture with Exif data)
    >One could assume that the faster shutter speed limits the light coming from the
    >Sunpak, though I doubt it. I'll have to check that out with different kinds of
    >backlighting and subjects.


    No need to. A flash is shorter than 1/1000 second. If it falls
    into the opening time of the shutter at all, it will almost
    certainly fall in it completely.

    My biggest problem in low light was always the lack of
    autofocus. How do you deal with that?

    It seems that the camera keeps the last focus when it cannot
    autofocus, so that is a cumbersome way out. Find something with
    enough light in the desired distance, autofocus on it, then turn
    over and take your real shot.

    I have experimented with laser spots, but the autofocus dosn't
    work precisely with a laser pointer.

    Hans-Georg

    --
    No mail, please.
    Hans-Georg Michna, Aug 24, 2003
    #3
  4. In article <>, hans-
    says...
    > My biggest problem in low light was always the lack of
    > autofocus. How do you deal with that?

    Actually I don't because I didn't notice that kind of problem so far.

    Now in my house I have this small hallway which, with all doors closed, is
    pitchblack dark. The clothes closet in there is a perfect subject to test the
    AF.

    First I went outside (beautiful sunshine) and took a shot focused at infinity.
    I kept the camera powered on, lured my loving wife into the hallway, took a few
    shots in the dark of her (literally and, according to her, not for the first
    time either) and of the clothes in the closet. Then I switched the camera off,
    kissed my sweet wife (and did some other fun things with her), switched the
    camera back on again and took more shots. After I got my lovely wife's promise
    to come back later I left the door open to have low light (the LCD screen still
    completely dark) and again took shots of somewhat rearranged and different
    clothes.

    I took all shots with camera flash and anti-red-eye active, except the one
    outside of course. The interval between anti-red-eye flash and main flash is
    +/- 1 second.

    Well, the camera certainly does not use its pre-flash to focus, because all
    shots in pitchblack dark were unsharp. OTOH the shots in low light were well
    focused. It appears that, to focus correctly, the camera needs just a little
    light, some contrasting stuff in view of the metering system and no distracting
    pretty woman around.

    The fact that LCD-screen and electronic viewfinder are useless in low light,
    seems the only problem that remains to be solved. As a workaround I keep the
    lens at its most wide-angle and just aim in the general direction of the
    subject (nothing unusual, dixit my witty wife). This is not so hard actually,
    because with adapter ring and skylight filter the lens barrel is 6.5 cm long
    (my wife ... No, I'd better not tell).

    Here's a pic of my dear spouse (very proper, *not* a shot in the dark).
    http://users.pandora.be/cisken/photo_album/P1040185.JPG
    --
    Francis Kennis, aka E Pericoloso Sporgersi
    E Pericoloso Sporgersi, Aug 24, 2003
    #4
  5. Francis,

    thanks for the good info! I would sometimes want to take photos
    where there is some light, but not enough for the autofocus.
    That's difficult with the FZ1, unfortunately. It's one of its
    major shortcomings. It needs an autofocus assist light.

    But otherwise I'm very happy with the camera, as far as two
    Megapixels go.

    Hans-Georg

    --
    No mail, please.
    Hans-Georg Michna, Aug 24, 2003
    #5
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